Exciting news has come from the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) held in Germany on June 20, 2016 – a Chinese-made supercomputer topped the world’s TOP500 List, which was the seventh time in a row for Chinese supercomputers to be the champion. On the List, China overtook the United States as the country with the largest number of computers. This is the first time for a country other than the United States to achieve so. Meanwhile, China-made microprocessor chips were fully used for the first time on the world’s fastest supercomputer.
Topping the current TOP500 List was the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer developed by China’s National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology. This was the world’s first supercomputer with a speed of over 100PFlops. It was also the first high-performance computer completely built with China-made CPUs that has the fastest computing speed in the world. The Sunway TaihuLigh realized China’s independence and controllability in supercomputer core technology.
The Sunway TaihuLight has won support from the High-Performance Computers & Application Service Environments (Phase II) Major Project under the National 863 Program during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan Period. The system fully adopted Shenwei 26010 many-core processors developed by the National High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Centre with support from China’s Science and Technology Major Special Project on Core Electric Devices, High-End General-Purpose Chips and Infrastructure Software Products. The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputing system can reach a peak performance of 125 PFlops, a continuous performance of 93 PFlops, and a system EER of 60.5MFlops per watt. On all these 3 technical indicators, the Sunway TaihuLight comes on top of the world. Its computing capacity exceeds the total of the top 5 computers of the previous TOP 500 List. The Sunway TaihuLight can reach such computing speed because of its unprecedented innovation and breakthrough in architecture, high-speed interconnection, system software and other key technologies, which in turn achieved a historic stride in performance.
The successful development of the Sunway TaihuLight signified that Chinese supercomputers were no longer merely winning by their running speed. Furthermore, it represented a historic breakthrough in terms of independent and controllable core hardware and software, computing performance and green indicators.
At the end of 2015, the Sunway TaihuLight was installed at the National Supercomputing Wuxi Centre. Since then, Tsinghua University has been responsible for its operations. The computer has served science and technology innovation and local economic development in China. Building upon the Sunway TaihuLigh, China has been able to make global earth system numerical simulations at a high resolution of 10km. This achievement will comprehensively boost China’s ability to cope with extreme climate events and natural disasters. In its drug screening and disease mechanism research, the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica used the Sunway TaihuLight to complete computations in 2 weeks which would otherwise take 10 months to finish. This has greatly accelerated the design of drugs against leukemia, cancer and bird flu. Many research institutions, including the Institute of Software of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CSSRC and Xidian University, have also developed a series of high-performance application topics based on the Sunway TaihuLight. Currently, applications developed by research teams cover various fields and various disciplines, including aviation, aerospace, climate, meteorology, bioinformatics, materials science, vessel engineering, computational chemistry and advanced manufacturing. Meanwhile, the Sunway TaihuLight will also provide a powerful supporting platform for nurturing the Internet of things, big data, animation production and other emerging industries.